SPNHC 2014 DemoCamp: Historical Expeditions Website (Botany) at the Smithsonian

TitleSPNHC 2014 DemoCamp: Historical Expeditions Website (Botany) at the Smithsonian
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsRussell, Rusty, and Orli Sylvia
Keywordsbotany, herbaria, Historical Expeditions Website, Natural History Collection, SPNHC 2014 DemoCamp
AbstractThe relevance of natural history collections is measured most often by its value to the scientific enterprise. In support of studies in evolution, systematics, biotic and physical change, we have built enormous collections to document the physical and biological world in which we live. Our ability to bore into the earth, launch ourselves into deep time, and enter the sub-molecular world of living organisms has allowed us to understand our world like never before. However, our ability to reach out to a much larger public, one that has the capacity to support our scientific endeavour in a significant way, depends on discovering a more personal connection. To this end, the United States National Herbarium has constructed a site that describes the details of over 40 journeys of exploration, each of which has produced a collection of plant specimens which are now deposited at US. Our link to history is one to which most people can relate. The words explore and discover evoke a special, almost romantic, reaction. Expeditions are about people and events; they are about struggles against adversity; they are about a time now long behind us. The content for this website was produced almost exclusively by summer interns, and the resulting presentations are both fun and informative.